Where Have All the Fireflies Gone? Thoughts at Lake Pandin

To ten million fireflies
I’m weird ’cause I hate goodbyes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell

       But I’ll know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
‘Cause I saved a few and I keep them in a jar…

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
Because my dreams are bursting at the seams

Adam Young (Owl City), Fireflies

My early childhood was filled with the stuff of insects, the prettiest of which were in my opinion, those which lit up your gentle little clasp as you gingerly peeked inside with just one curious little eye.  It’s funny they’re otherwise called by the much less flattering monikers, glow worm and lightning bug (would you rather be called a worm or a bug or a fly? Hmmm….something to think about, no?)

I guess it’s just the phonetic combination of the two f’s in fireflies that makes it sound somewhat… classier.

Well, however one liked to call them (we called them kutitap which is Filipino for firefly) they were just awfully pretty and now…seem awfully gone.  Where the hell are they,  anyway?, I thought to myself almost irritably, like someone had to pay for it but I had no idea who.  And that’s how I started this 2-hour (from our home in Southern Manila) drive to Lake Pandin, one of the Seven Lakes of San Pablo City, Laguna, just because pretty soon into hitting the road, we were given the pleasure of listening to this Owl City song which I have always loved just because it sounds like a lot of brilliant crazy nonsense and reminds me literally of  my favorite bug.

Fireflies are said to thrive in marshes around lakes, for example (they need a moist environment).  So, I wouldn’t be surprised if this place had them, since Lake Pandin remains to be quite pristine.  The lake seemed like a bottomless basin of thick, juicy green-ness due to the amazing reflection of the super-lush surrounding greenery under bright mid-day sun.  As we busily readied ourselves for sitting on the edge of our slowly cruising bamboo raft, our host cheerily handed us our bright orange life jackets (funny they’re called that, isn’t it) and informed us that the lake was about one hundred eighty feet deep.  Oh.  My.

Our little cruise included a lunch consisting of shrimps and fish that they earlier caught on that same lake and already prepared by the time we arrived (we called our local guide beforehand), and some really colorful, happy-looking salad (which I devoured like there’s no tomorrow).  Also, I have always thought that meals that came in fresh banana-leaf packages were pretty cool, specially so if you were eating with your fingers in the company of coconut and bamboo trees around a still body of water.

I wish for the opportunity to show my kids a real firefly.  It would be a neat, not to mention cheap, trick they’d really be knocking themselves out silly over.  I mean, would knock myself silly over this wonder of nature  that gifted an unassuming little creature with a light bulb in its butt that apparently has no other purpose but to amuse.  There’s hardly any other bug alternative to fireflies that I can think of would be nearly as awesome.

At least, I thought, this dreamy Lake Pandin is still around.  I mean, when was the last time you actually  swum in a lake?  I know I never have, before this day, but surely even just the thought of lake in my head easily conjures up images of carefree bare-back summers and frigid fruit shakes.

We couldn’t stay until nightfall by the lake even just to wait and see if fireflies would care to show up on this beautiful summer night graced by a full moon (as we would find out later at dinner, looking out from the nearby Cafe Lago, another nostalgic place with a fantastic view of  Lake Sampalok), since the lake would be pitch dark and the parking area was a good maybe 15-minute walk through a narrow path between tall blades of grass and trees .

How about you?  Do you miss fireflies?  If you could see ones around your place, would you be so kind as to send me a picture so I could embrace  the comfort of knowing they are still in this world?

Do you have a favorite bug that reminds you of a bright, happy time that you’d like to save in a jar to love forever?

Do you ever feel like your dreams were bursting at the seams?

Thanks for dropping by! 😉

See you again,


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